Teens usually start to recognize their sexual inclinations during adolescence, however, others might be alert to these new feelings earlier - as in the fourth or fifth grade. But, what do teens do with these feelings? Answer? Nothing - at first, but as time passes and they hear kids talking at school, they become curious and their feelings become real, and sometimes scary.
Normal or not normal?
So what do young kids talk about? Usually, in same-gender groups, girls talk about fashion, their feelings, food, clothes, TV shows, school, club and home activities, movies, smart phones, make-up, other girls and the cute - and not-so-cute boys they know, and more. Young boys talk about team sports, school, camping expeditions, clubs, their likes, X-box games, dangerous sports, hobbies, TV shows, video games, other kids - and the cute and not-so-cute girls (and more) - usually. But they all hear comments drifting past their listening ears about homosexuality, gays and lesbians, and perhaps about bi-sexuals and trans-genders. These conversations might be whispered and in smaller groups, but they are there. Sexual mysteries. Romance. Weirdness. Younger kids might talk about 10-year-old kids liking seven- or eight-year-old kids, and older kids talking about 15-year-olds having 13-year-old boy or girlfriends. That's normal.
But some teens get worried that they think they are NOT normal, and this may become scary. What if their feelings really aren't normal? What then? Where can they go? To their parents? Probably not. But where can parents go if their teen tells them something that is weird, different, not-normal? Of course, the answer is to a trusted adult, a grandparent or another relative, a trusted teacher, a youth club leader, a youth pastor. Good answers. They might even talk to someone at their healthcare provider's office. But, if your 14-year-old son is attracted to an eight-year-old neighbor or you are 14-years-old and are attracted to a young girl or boy in your neighborhood - this is different, VERY different.
What is ASAP?
ASAP is a listening, informed group of people you can find online who want to help young adults and teens - and older adults, talk about difficult sexual attractions - especially about a sexual attraction to young children. ASAP can answer your questions and will seek professionals who can provide excellent mental health and counseling services. You can connect online, or talk to real people on the phone.
When there's no help - what then?
Let's first look at what might happen if a teen or young adult, doesn't get answers to their questions, or get help. Young people are curious and use the internet to find answers if they can't find someone in person to help them. But this is a difficult topic to talk about and it can be dangerous, because there are people faking an innocent, safe profile, when they are anything but that. It is easy to be trapped and for seekers to go down a dangerous path. It is unlikely that anyone can change their sexual orientation even though some young people might explore a homosexual orientation for a while, but it might not fit. If the orientation a teen or young adult thinks he or she has is liking children, finding someone to talk to about THAT is scary and difficult, and probably impossible. What if they reported you to the police, even though you hadn't done anything? What if you were removed from your home, work or school, or church? Enter ASAP.
What ASAP does
We are here to
provide you with answers to your questions with real facts and not hear-say
support you where you are to never act on that attraction and to have a meaningful life
assist you in finding mental health professionals who understand your problems empathetically
Don't go down a bad path
Becoming a child molester because you have this attraction IS NOT inevitable
Unfortunately, kids who recognize that they are sexually attracted to children and DON'T get help are more likely to explore this attraction with a young child and may begin to feel really bad about doing this even though it might have been exciting in the moment. Without help, they might do this again and seek opportunities to repeat this behavior and even though they realize that it wasn't a healthy, acceptable activity. They will try to cover up what they did or what they were looking for. Being deceitful makes them feel worse and this causes them to become hopeless, depressed and more and more desperate and finding help is very difficult in many places worldwide, including in America. ASAP doesn't want anyone to go there. We want you to have a healthy sexual life and be able to deal with the attraction without ever acting on it. Becoming a child molester because you have this attraction IS NOT inevitable. Professional help and support will help you through this struggle and is available.
At the present time, child sexual abuse (CSA) is a felony and can result in long imprisonments and family members of perpetrators may have to deal with nasty threats and hatred because they are related to a pedophile, even if he/she has not acted on the attraction. By getting help, teens and young adults can be a part of protecting young children from abuse and making the life of Minor Attracted People (MAPs) better.
We, at ASAP, are hopeful that the time will come when
discussions about pedophilia will be more common-place and as research builds around the world in the US, UK, Australia, Europe and other countries confirming findings. The future will be brighter for MAPs. There is hope.
Schools will provide information about pedophilia in sex education classes, as they do about homosexuality, bisexuality, transgender behaviors etc., now.
Churches will talk about pedophilia knowledgeably and make this knowledge an additional part of the Child Safety programs on their campus thus protecting young children and helping families enduring the stigma of pedophilia
ASAP has a hotline for your calls where you can speak to a real person, has an extensive list of excellent, empathetic counselors and therapists who work with MAPs, conducts workshops for MAPs, counselors, therapists and others involved in dealing with pedophiles.
We invite you to connect with us. We have both men and women on our team. If you feel most comfortable talking to one or the other, ask to be connected to your choice. We will get back to you.
ASAP is here to help.
About the author
Tabitha B. C. Abel DrPH, MSN, RN. holds a doctorate in public health and views pedophilia and Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) as an integrated public health and mental health problem. Working with MAPs before they act on their attraction is a critical step in preventing CSA. Retiring from adjunct faculty positions and a long career as a critical care nurse of both children and adults, Dr. Abel focuses on the need for educating the public, including members of faith communities, on the truth about pedophilia and the primary prevention of CSA. UNTOUCHABLE - reaching the most despised with God's love is about pedophilia from a Christian, human-interest perspective.